Braised Curried Eggplant

    When we were in college my sister Jacqueline and I would oftentimes spend days delving into cookbooks to plan some exotic feast, which we would then cook that weekend for friends. Our favorite cuisine was Indian, and the surprises it offered were seemingly endless. She created this dish on the spur of the moment one day, and it has proven to be an enduring favorite.

    SERVES 4

    2 tablespoons Ghee or butter

    1 onion, diced

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 teaspoon turmeric

    2 teaspoons ground coriander

    ВЅ teaspoon cumin seeds

    Вј teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

    1 medium to large eggplant (1ВЅ pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

    3 cups (from 28-ounce can) diced canned tomatoes with their juice

    ВЅ teaspoon salt

    1 cup frozen peas

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    1. Heat the ghee or butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saut for 10 minutes, or until very tender.
    2. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds, and cayenne pepper, and cook for 2 minutes.
    3. Add the eggplant, toss well, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and toss again. Cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the eggplant is very tender and some of it is mushy. Remove the cover for the last 5 minutes of cooking. The mixture should be somewhat soupy though not watery. If it is slightly watery then raise the heat and cook uncovered until thickened. May be prepared to this point up to 24 hours in advance and chilled.
    4. Add the peas and lemon juice and cook 2 minutes more, or until the peas are heated through. They should still retain their bright green color.